The Aristotelian Epistemic Principle and the Problem of Divine Naming in Aquinas

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In this paper, I engage in a preliminary discussion to the thorny problem of analogous naming in Aquinas; namely, the Maimonidean problem of how ourconceptual content can relate to us any knowledge of God. I identify this problem as the First Semantic/Epistemic Problem (FSEP) of religious language. Theprimary determination of semantic content for Aquinas is what I call the Aristotelian Epistemic Principle (AEP). This principle holds that a belief is related tosome experience in order to be known. I show how an examination of the extent the AEP engenders the problem and allows us to find a way out of the FSEP. Forexample, through such an analysis, we can see how the AEP relates to Aquinas’s use of the distinction between the res significata and the modus significandi; the latter which includes the intension of being a created being where the former does not
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